Metascore
56

Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 34
  2. Negative: 1 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Oct 5, 2011
    91
    Real Steel is directed by "Night at the Museum's" Shawn Levy, who makes good use of his specialized skill in blending people and computer-made imaginary things into one lively, emotionally satisfying story.
  2. Reviewed by: Randy Cordova
    Oct 5, 2011
    80
    There's a little "Kramer vs. Kramer" here, a dash of "Transformers" there, and it's all topped with big heap of "Rocky." But it's hard to argue with the results, because, at times, Real Steal is close to a knockout.
  3. Reviewed by: Peter Hartlaub
    Oct 6, 2011
    75
    If you can get past the ridiculousness of the setup - easy to do, because the posters make it clear this isn't a Woody Allen movie - it's pretty much impossible not to have fun.
  4. Reviewed by: Wesley Morris
    Oct 6, 2011
    75
    The movie is corny enough to remind you that boxing rings are square.
  5. Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    Oct 6, 2011
    75
    It is earsplitting, crowd-pleasing, and, no doubt, 'bot-pleasing, too. If you told me I would get emotionally and viscerally involved in two machines punching the hard drives out of each other, I would tell you you were crazy. I would be wrong.
  6. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Oct 5, 2011
    75
    By the time the two hour running length has expired, it's safe to say that Real Steel comes across as a legitimate crowd-pleaser.
  7. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Oct 5, 2011
    75
    Real Steel is a real movie. It has characters, it matters who they are, it makes sense of its action, it has a compelling plot. This is the sort of movie, I suspect, young viewers went to the "Transformers" movies looking for.
  8. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Oct 5, 2011
    75
    Like "Moneyball," this is real movie making that packs a solid entertainment punch.
  9. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Oct 6, 2011
    70
    It goes through all the motions, properly and efficiently, and yet it's missing some core warmth. Watching Real Steel, I kept thinking of Brad Bird's retro-modern cartoon "The Iron Giant," and of how that picture humanized a metal alien so effortlessly.
  10. Reviewed by: Pete Hammond
    Oct 4, 2011
    70
    Although the marketing looks like "Transformers 4," Real Steel is the real deal, a Rocky with robots that ought to have audiences standing up and cheering.
  11. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Oct 2, 2011
    70
    The uncanny thing about Real Steel is just how gripping the fight scenes are; Sugar Ray Leonard served as a consultant to the motion-capture performers responsible for pantomiming the machines' moves.
  12. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Oct 5, 2011
    67
    Real Steel falls somewhere near the intersection of elation and shame, essentially reworking the Sylvester Stallone arm-wrestling non-classic "Over The Top" for the equally ridiculous sport of android fisticuffs, and mostly getting away with it.
  13. Reviewed by: Nick Schager
    Oct 5, 2011
    63
    If familiarity is endemic to this feel-good drama, there's nonetheless also something to be said for competent amalgamation and regurgitation of tired genre tropes.
  14. Reviewed by: James White
    Oct 10, 2011
    60
    Rocky with robots? It's not quite in Balboa's weight class, but Real Steel at least has some heft. There's barely a story beat among the beat-downs that you won't expect, and sometimes the saccharine gets in the way of the spectacle, but on the whole this is enjoyable family entertainment.
  15. Reviewed by: Forrest Wickman
    Oct 6, 2011
    60
    When I was 7 and saw "Over The Top," I saw no irony in its moniker, even during a slow-motion close-up of two battling hands. While Real Steel is similarly ludicrous, I predict it will play like a masterpiece with 7-year-olds.
  16. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Oct 6, 2011
    60
    As it happens, this recycled reclamation of underdogs saga is neither as bad as it sounds nor quite as good as it could be.
  17. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Oct 4, 2011
    60
    Based very loosely on a short story by "I Am Legend" author Richard Matheson, Real Steel in fact comes closer to road-bonding movies featuring children and hesitant papas: "Paper Moon" or "Over the Top," say.
  18. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Oct 4, 2011
    60
    Executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, the movie's special effects are seamless and far more cleanly cut than any of Michael Bay's hash. But the element that lingers longest is a subtle strand - also woven into last week's "Take Shelter" - of recessionary anxiety.
  19. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Oct 5, 2011
    58
    Real Steel is sci-fi without the science, and the fiction is strictly 20th century, straight out of Rocky knockoffs.
  20. Reviewed by: Mary Pols
    Oct 10, 2011
    50
    The story remains sadly mired in botdom, which leads to some boredom. It's hard to look away from the ever-dazzling Jackman, but the sight of him hunched over the controls of something akin to a live action video game is not, in the end, much more exciting than the sight of your average teenager hunched over the controls of a Game Boy.
  21. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Oct 7, 2011
    50
    When making a film for 10-year-old boys, it doesn't have to be good, necessarily -- just good enough. And that's exactly what Real Steel is: good enough.
  22. Reviewed by: Joe Williams
    Oct 7, 2011
    50
    What it lacks is the human element. Charlie is more of a rat than a rascal, and instead of working hard to build and operate his robots, he's literally going through the motions.
  23. Reviewed by: Peter Rainer
    Oct 7, 2011
    50
    They should call this overloud, underwhelming movie "Real Steal."
  24. 50
    It's a combination that seems ideal for 10-year-old boys who adore violence, and could well be the cornerstone of the next DreamWorks franchise.
  25. Reviewed by: Staff [Not Credited]
    Oct 6, 2011
    50
    It's an odd blend - a sentimental story in a futuristic world of brutal machine-maneuvered fights. There are some ringside thrills, but it's not a seamless mesh.
  26. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Oct 6, 2011
    50
    An underdog drama with clanging metal-on-metal action, Real Steel feels scientifically programmed to claw at your heart while its battling robots, which have a semblance of human personality, drum up your adrenaline. That said, I'm not sure that the movie itself has more than a semblance of a heart.
  27. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Oct 6, 2011
    50
    Sugar Ray Leonard helped with the motion-capture, and it shows. Good stuff. But the tear-jerking in Real Steel is as shameless as its product placement. We're being hustled.
  28. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Oct 6, 2011
    50
    A slightly soggy tale of father-son bonding, crossed with an action-adventure flick about high-tech battle-bots.
  29. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Oct 6, 2011
    50
    I suspect a lot of what I found synthetic and sort of galling in Real Steel will work just fine with the target audience.
  30. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Oct 5, 2011
    50
    Lost's Evangeline Lilly remains lost, however, in this film role as Charlies's too-good-to-be-true romantic interest.
  31. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Oct 5, 2011
    50
    Jackman gamely does his best, Levy keeps the kid just shy of insufferable and just this side of kid-appropriate in his behavior and language.
  32. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Oct 2, 2011
    50
    This punishingly predictable tale will test whether sci-fi action fanboys can stomach having their cherished genre infiltrated by sentimental hokum about a down-on-his-luck dad and his spunky long-lost son.
  33. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Oct 7, 2011
    40
    In either a stunningly brave or misguided act of meta-absurdity, Real Steel, which is about a boy, his dad and the robot that changes their lives, actually feels as if it were made inside the mind of a kid obsessed with robots.
  34. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Oct 7, 2011
    38
    Real Steel is to action what the Anthony Weiner habit was to sex: It's so virtual, so distant from the thrill, that you wonder what the point is. Do you really want to pay to watch an actor playing a kid who in turn plays what amounts to a video game?
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 287 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 72 out of 95
  2. Negative: 10 out of 95
  1. Oct 8, 2011
    9
    Here is what you get when you see this movie: You get to be with moviegoers that will cheer and clap out loud (when is the last time that happened). You get great fight scenes. Real life Rock'em Sock'em Robots. You get the desire to stand up and throw a punch yourself. You may get a tear in your eye. If you go with your son, you get to watch him go through every emotion in two hours then talk about every minute of it for the next two hours. You get to watch a very good movie and you get your monies worth. Again, when is the last time that happened? No academy awards with this one, but you'll have some priceless snapshot moments with your family. Full Review »
  2. Feb 13, 2012
    7
    "Real Steel" is real. It has the visual action with a cheesy but good story. A good entertainment to watch with your kids or family.
  3. Oct 8, 2011
    5
    I was apparently WAY too old for this movie. It was predictable from the opening frame. Maybe a good family film to take your kids to but just didn't hold my attention the way Super 8 did which was also a family film. Hugh Jackman carries the entire film as far as I'm concerned. His model-looking girlfriend who is a mechanic (yeah right) is not used much and the kid is a little hammy at times. Actually he's hammy most of the time. Lots of preposterous eye rolling moments. I looked at my watch a couple of times hoping it would end. Also, Hugh Jackman plays a jerk who ignored his kid his entire life and couldn't even remember his wife's sister's name, and yet we're suddenly supposed to be cheering for him? Now suddenly he's a good guy since he introduced his 11 year old son to the art of boxing and betting on sports? Full Review »